Biological Assessment of California WaterFix Released
The California Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released a revised biological assessment for the California WaterFix project to federal agencies with a request to begin the formal consultation process under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
The biological assessment was released to the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and presents a species-by-species analysis of the project’s potential impact. The assessment specifies how the WaterFix project would be operated to meet the needs of endangered species. It must make a “likely to adversely affect” determination for each federally listed species even when the impacts are small or nearly negligible, and regardless of whether the overall project effect to that particular species may be beneficial. The species-by-species effects determinations in the assessment do not describe the net environmental benefits of California WaterFix, which as described in the proposed action include:
· Improving environmental flows,
Avoiding water diversions at times and locations harmful to fish, and
· Creating a more natural flow pattern in the South Delta.
A draft of the biological assessment can be found here.